Chad and I have been sticking to a strict budget around here since last February. We budget to zero every month so we know where all of our money is going, and we use cash for many of our purchases. Budgeting has been a rewarding, challenging, learning journey.
One tool that has helped me stay on top of the budget is Finance Fridays.
Finance Fridays is just a fancy name for scheduling one day a week to review the budget and finances. By designating a specific day and calendaring the time in, I am more likely to keep current with our receipts, bills, budget, and accounts. And since I homeschool Elle, she participates in Finance Fridays as well.
I love that she gets to see money management in real life, in real time, in real application.
Every Finance Friday looks different, but here are some of the tasks that we may do on a typical Friday:
Go to the bank.
Deposit money in savings account.
Record receipts on budget spreadsheet.
Balance this month’s budget.
Set next month’s budget.
Review account transactions.
Write checks. (Is there anything more fun when you are an 11 year old girl?)
Square Elle’s money*
*Finance Fridays are when Elle settles her money as well. When she gets paid for babysitting or other jobs, she stores her money in her homeschooling binder in her pencil pouch. Then on Fridays we settle it. At this time, she pays 10 percent to tithing, 20 percent to long-term savings, and she divides up the rest between “fun” and “short term savings” depending on her own goals at the time. If she has an item she is saving for specifically, usually most of the leftover money goes into “short term savings” jar.
I don’t like to settle her money any time she earns money because that usually requires change to be made or large bills to be broken. I like her to save up all her money for Friday so I only have to pull out the family bank once a week.
Finance Fridays save me time, keep me honest, and help me stay on top of our family finances. But I appreciate them more because they help Elle develop valuable life skills. She is getting financial experience and knowledge as a child that I didn’t get until well into adulthood.